Ten years of Junior FR
Fascinating Rhythm Insights 8: Junior FR how it started/how it’s going

Junior FR how it started/how it’s going

Junior FR, Fascinating Rhythm’s junior choir for girls aged 7 to 16, is celebrating its tenth birthday this year. We caught up with Musical Director Wendy and some of Junior FR’s founding, current and former members to reflect on how the choir got started and reminisce over their ‘best bits’ from the past ten years.

We’ve come a long way

Wendy (Junior FR Musical Director): “The idea for a junior choir came about when we were planning a Christmas concert and looking for acts to include alongside Fascinating Rhythm on the programme. Four of the ladies’ chorus members (Caroline, Kitty, Sharon and I) all had daughters of a similar age; we thought we could sing together with them at the concert, and the idea for Junior FR was born.”

Kitty (Junior FR helper): “I felt so proud standing on stage with my daughter, Holly, in front of Fascinating Rhythm, at that first Christmas concert. And my mum was there too, accompanying us on the piano, so we had three generations of our family performing together!”

Wendy: “Our very first rehearsal was on a Saturday morning in early October 2011 in Iron Acton Village Hall with just 12 singers. Over the next few years, Junior FR grew to a membership of about 30 girls from across the South Gloucestershire area. Unfortunately, due to the covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, we’re down to 22 members at the moment.”

We’ve had success

Wendy: “Junior FR regularly performs at local concerts and festivals and has won the under-11s choir category in Thornbury Eistedfodd three times. We’ve also had girls sing solos and duets in music competitions.” 

Caroline (Junior FR helper): “I love the ‘wow!’ reaction that Junior FR gets when they sing with or for Fascinating Rhythm. It feels like a validation of just how good they are.” 

Kitty: “I love the joy and satisfaction of being part of a great team that provides such rewarding experiences for the girls and seeing the confidence and self-esteem they gain from being part of Junior FR.”

Georgia (former Junior FR member): “Most importantly, Junior FR taught me the power of singing and music, and I definitely wouldn’t be as confident if it weren’t for the many things we were taught each week. Starting as a group that wanted to introduce young girls to singing specifically in harmony has taught me so much more. I adored being on stage with Junior FR and all of the wonderful ladies who run it, and it is eight years of my life I will always look back on with so much joy and treasure forever.”

Wendy: “I’ve had so many amazing comments from parents over the past ten years of Junior FR. They tell me how being part of the choir has increased their girls’ confidence. All the girls who have come through Junior FR have grown in confidence and enjoyed being part of our choir. It’s such a special time because the girls come from different areas and don’t all go to school together, but when they meet up, there’s a real sense of family.”

We’ve had good times

Kitty: “One of my best bits has been the fun and laughter with all the girls in adapting and staging our shows,’ Cinderella’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.”

Lily (former Junior FR member): “I was about eight years old when I joined Junior FR. I went with my mum, Sarah, because she’d been asked to help direct ‘Cinderella’ and I got a part in the chorus. The next year, mum directed ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, and she made me dress up as a pig in a Land Girl outfit to sing and dance the Charleston!”

Elizabeth (current Junior FR member): “In ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, I got to play Sniffy the dog and eat half a cake! I like being part of Junior Fr because it’s fun.”

Anna (current Junior FR member): “One thing I always remember is how happy I was when Jo, Musical Director of Fascinating Rhythm, gave me some chocolates at my first Proms in the Meadow, because she could see in rehearsal I was way out of my comfort zone singing with the ladies’ chorus, but I had tried hard. I was probably seven years old then. I’m now 14, still with Junior FR and have learned so much! Performing at Proms has always been my highlight.” 

Georgia: “I loved Junior FR so much because it introduced me to singing and, from the first-ever rehearsal, I knew that I had friends for life. Junior FR became my second family and gave me so many opportunities, the majority of which I wouldn’t have been able to experience without joining Junior FR.”

Caroline: “It was a bit like herding cats sometimes, trying to get the girls to focus or contain their excitement before a performance! But as soon as they were on their way to the stage, then performing, they were brilliant. I always felt immensely proud watching Junior FR or singing alongside them.”

Mama Joan (Junior FR helper): “Helping with Junior FR has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute – from the very first Learn to Sing day at Yate Academy to the shows, Eisteddfods and concerts.”

We’ve reached so high

Layla (current Junior FR member): “I remember when I used to look up to the older girls and think how ‘cool’ they were. They were always sat in a specific part of the room. Now I’m one of the seniors, and I look at the juniors, knowing they will carry on Junior FR and be one of the cool seniors too, one day.”

Caroline: “My daughter, Imogen, and I fondly remember Wendy’s energy, enthusiasm and fantastic teaching skills. We both learnt a lot of singing and performance craft through Junior FR, and I even improved my range on higher notes because the girls naturally sing in a higher range!”

Mama Joan: “Wendy has created a wonderful resource for young girls, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. All the Junior FR girls are so wonderful – it has been lovely to see many of them grow into confident young women and accomplished singers.”

Wendy: “During the lockdown, Junior FR put together a video ‘Being a Kid in Lockdown Too‘, which was a lot of fun to learn and record! Then, at the beginning of this year, when we were locked down again and rehearsing on Zoom, we had the idea of doing a musical show. The girls chose ‘The Pied Piper’ and started learning all the songs. We were hoping to do a live performance but decided instead to make it into a musical film! The girls have been working really hard to record the soundtrack and film on location. We’re just adding a few finishing touches and will be ready to release the Premiere soon – so, watch this space!”

And we hope for more…

Wendy: “We’re planning a big tenth-anniversary celebration in December with current and former members of Junior FR, their parents and members of Fascinating Rhythm.”

Caroline: “I’ll always continue to follow Junior FR with pride and happy memories.”

Mama Joan: “Congratulations, Junior FR, on your 10th birthday! I will always remember, with great fondness, the years I was privileged to be involved and all the lovely girls I met.”

Jo (Fascinating Rhythm Musical Director): “We are so proud of JFR and all their achievements over the last ten years. They always steal the show when they join Fascinating Rhythm for a concert, and that makes us all incredibly happy. We are once again reminded of the power of belonging to a like-minded community, and I know that these girls will treasure their time with Junior FR for a lifetime. We hope many of them will join Fascinating Rhythm when they come of age; no better way to future-proof our group than with well trained, confident and passionate young ladies.”

Sure is good to be here

If you or someone you know would like to join Junior FR, please get in touch with us via our website.

You might also like to see other articles in the Fascinating Rhythm Insight series:01 – Why singing is good for you

01 – Why Singing is Good For You

02 – Making your performance authentic

03 – Performance through vocal expression

04 – Teamwork makes the dream work

05 – Why warm-up? 

06 – The New Members Guide to Joining a Choir in a Pandemic!

07 – Breathing to Sing

09 – Singing is a Family Affair

10 – How we choose Convention songs

11 – Mixing it Up

12 – Love to Sing

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